Recognizing an IRS phone scam or arrest warrant scam
An IRS phone scam (or tax scam) or outstanding warrant scam typically involves a mailed letter and/or phone call from the scammer with serious allegations against you. The scammer informs you directly or leaves a voicemail informing you that you have unpaid taxes or an active arrest warrant. In either scenario, you’re threatened with an arrest if you don’t immediately pay the taxes or a fee in lieu of arrest. The scammer will be demanding and threatening, and it’s not unheard of for them to send a police officer to your door. They do this by calling the local agency in your town and asking for a welfare check on your residence. The scammer usually asks you to place cash in a FedEx or UPS envelope or purchase gift cards to send as your payment. The IRS or any law enforcement agency will never ask for you to mail cash or purchase gift cards/iTunes cards as a form of payment, nor operate in this manner to resolve tax or warrant issues.
How to avoid an IRS phone scam or arrest warrant scam
These letters or phone calls can be frightening because they seem very legitimate. Remember to stay calm, keep focused and follow these common-sense guidelines.
Don’t wire money, send cash, or use gift cards or cryptocurrency to pay someone who says they’re with the government.Scammers ask you to pay in this manner because it’s hard to track that money, and almost impossible to get it back.
Don’t give financial or personal information to someone who calls, texts, or emails and says they’re with the government.If you think a call or message could be real, stop. Hang up the phone and call the government agency directly at a number you know is correct.
Don’t trust your caller ID.Your caller ID may show the government agency’s real phone number or even say “Social Security Administration." But caller ID can be faked. It could be anyone calling from anywhere.